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New Books and ARCs, 12/16/16

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 17:31
An economy-sized collection of new books and ARCs for your delight this Friday, with many fine authors and books. What calls to you here? Tell us in the comments!

The Big Idea: Monica Valentinelli

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 12/15/2016 - 09:36
When Monica Valentinelli become annoyed with cliches in science fiction and fantasy, she didn’t get mad — she got creative. She’s here to explain how that lead to Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, the new anthology she’s co-edited. MONICA VALENTINELLI: I wish I could claim that I was brilliant enough to concoct the idea […]

Athena, on the Occasion of (Probably) Her Last Day as a High School Student

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 15:50
Why is this girl smiling? Because today is probably Athena’s last day as a high school student. As you may remember, this year Athena has been attending the local community college rather than the local school, because Athena basically had only one more class she needed to complete her high school requirements, and it was […]

Clutching Electoral College straws? I rank the (complicated) odds.

Contrary Brin - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 15:32
Seriously? You have hopes? Oh, for certain there are plenty of sci fi-ish scenarios to ponder, before the Electoral College votes are tallied on December 19.  Scroll down to get my odds-handicapping of all the EC gambits! But first, much-needed context:

Okay, so a lawsuit filed by two Colorado presidential electors aimed to free them from penalties for defecting. A federal judge then ruled that Colorado's electors "must" vote for Hillary Clinton
     But "must"... or else what? Face a tiny fine? 
     Backed up by both the Constitution and the Founders own words -- and precedent, with past defectors going unpunished -- nothing prevents electors doing whatever they like. Which is both heartening and scary. And (as we'll see) likely irrelevant.

The Electors Trust is publicly offering both discreet legal advice and to pay any legal costs incurred by such defectors… who I'm sure are enduring terrible denunciations and threats, as well.
      Now a bipartisan collection of 16 Electors (and growing) request security clearance so they can see the evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to get Trump elected. 
(GOP Electors! At least hint you're wavering. Demand an "assurance call" from Trump himself. You'll get one! Plus maybe dinner: do you like frog's legs?)
To all of you blinking in astonishment, over an obscure constitutional relic that has only caused trouble - till now - but might have value after all, well, Alexander Hamilton, in the Federalist Papers, said one purpose of the EC is to keep foreign powers from capturing the presidency
       Another passage extolls the EC to deal with dogmatist candidates who are outrageously unqualified
      Wow. What prescient Founders.
== The Siberian Candidate ==

OK. Just a bit more context before getting the the odds.

Declaring last week that "I'm, like, a smart person" and refusing security briefings, DT exacerbated all the drama with remarkable lack of self-control. He had only to lay low and say peaceful things, for all 'electoral college gambits' to be moot. Think. If he cannot keep it lidded now, how about when all leashes have slipped?  Heck, is a CIA report necessary? Could the Kremlin have picked a more favorable U.S. cabinet than Trump has, e.g. Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, who received lavish honors - and billions in favored contracts - directly from the Putin regime and who hangs with Russian klepto-oligarchs? Paul Manafort was a longtime consultant to Viktor Yanukovich, the Russian-backed Ukrainian president who was overthrown in 2014, when Ukraine swung westward, the event for which Putin swore revenge on the Democratic leaders Obama and Clinton. The list is so extensive, we need no "CIA report."

Would any 20th Century sci fi author - even on LSD - have foreseen the bootlicking devotion of today's right wing to Moscow? 

The Siberian Candidate, indeed. 
Ah, but all of that is prelude and scene setting.  Today's topic is wagering the odds.   We have a betting pool over how many elector-defectors there will be. And given all we've seen, it ought to be a tsunami. But, although I do expect some, even a large number won't matter as much as folks hope. 

== All the possible scenarios - barring an asteroid strike ==

Asteroids*. Yeah. At this point, something biblical almost sounds merciful. But all right, since many have asked… here’s my forecast:
1- What are the odds that 37+ Republican electors will demonstrate awesome maturity, sanity and patriotism by switching to Hillary Clinton on the 19th? (She might cleverly increase the odds by offering olive branches - as I described in my previous posting - and perhaps even promising to resign, after a year.)

But sorry. There's no chance of this, whatsoever.
2- What are the odds that 37+ Republican electors might demonstrate some maturity, sanity and patriotism - and ad-hoc organization - by choosing another Republican? Perhaps elevating John Kasich or Paul Ryan for top-three consideration by the House? I give that a generous 15%! Then subtract 5% because of my own “jinx factor,” whenever I want something. 
3- That 37+ Republican electors will demonstrate at least a little maturity, sanity and patriotism by independently and separately or impulsively abstaining or defecting to some random protest person – disorganized but still throwing it to the House? This one I give 20% (minus 10% jinx.)
4- Okay, now it gets interesting. If #2 happens: say Ohio’s delegation goes en masse for Kasich, or Utah’s republican electors find they can’t vote Trump without alcohol, or a cabal goes for Ryan, will the House then actually replace Trump?  
Alas, I give this almost no chance. 

Oh, Ryan could deliver one fantastic and historic speech, if he had the patriotism and guts. And if he read my Contrary Brin posting before this one.

But he knows the very next day Trump would unleash a veritable tsunami of Timothy McVeighs, across the land. We'd cope! With historic courage and triumph over treason. We are made of the same stuff as the Greatest Generation. But I doubt that GOP reps in the House - the laziest and most cowardly in the history of the republic - will have the cojones.
Give it 10% (of the already low 10% in case #2).
5- And if the House decides, based on #3? Just take my answer to #4 and cut it in half. (That's 10% of 10%, again, for those keeping score.)
6- Far more likely, if either #2 or #3 were to happen, and Trump falls below 270, is that the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will admonish Donald Trump, then make him president anyway. Perhaps extracting from him some changes in his cabinet or a promise not to make enemies lists. (Like asking a shark not to bite.) None of those promises or changes would affect the interests of Koch-Murdoch-Goldman puppeteers, though the Moscow strings might be made less blatant. This I deem plausible… though remember it starts with the low probability events in #2 & #3. 
7- Side bet. If #2 or #3 happen, maybe one or two defectors will proclaim the truth -- that the GOP has gone crazy. But most of the defecting electors will still vote in Mike Pence as VP, to prove their party loyalty. 

But even if we suppose Pence also fell below 270, he would still likely be chosen as Vice President by the Senate. Unless three GOP moderate senators were to actually show some courage. We'll never know, because it won't come to that.

Only... might some electors flip ballots? Voting Pence for President and Trump for VP? The perfect way to both do your duty and deflect angry fanatics! Just tell the screamers: "But I did vote for them!"  

It's the closest thing to a possible win-win for conscience-wracked GOP electors... and hence it will never occur to them.**

There are even more far-out sci fi scenarios. I got a million of em. But I won't offer that list of weird possibilities here. They belong in the genre of fantasy. As does all of 2016.
8- Now let’s speculate! Suppose major proof of cheating emerges, not just Russian meddling but also voting machine fraud. (Billionaires: it's still not too late to offer my Henchman's Prize! Ten million dollars for a Diebold defector could save American democracy.) 
Now further imagine that John Roberts and Samuel Alito might - conceivably – remember to be more Americans than Republicans. Then we could see something unprecedented. Not the fantasy nursed by some – installing Hillary Clinton - but maybe an election do-over.  In which case, I would urge Clinton to bow out. Get the DNC to nominate Biden and Bernie. Or the nation goes up in flames. Odds of any of this happening? Almost zero.  
Face it. Roberts and Alito aren’t ready yet to face their duty. Oh, but they will. A time may come when those two become (choke) the bulwark (alas) of everything we hold dear.

== And it all boils down to... ==
After all this, what are our chances of avoiding misery, in 40 days? 

Forget about it. Gird yourselves for a fully fulminating, multi-year phase of the U.S. Civil War, in which all the Americans who actually know stuff and believe there are "facts" will have to wake up, grit their teeth, and win-or-die. 

Literally, because we – the scientists, teachers, doctors, statisticians, engineers, meteorologists, journalists, professors, economists, civil servants, intelligence officers, tech entrepreneurs, law professionals, skilled labor and all the others declared to be enemies by Fox -- could yet find ourselves up against walls. 

I exaggerate? Look up Steve Bannon’s open and repeated admiration of Lenin, Stalin -- and Darth Vader.)
Still, the question we will face, on Inauguration day, after all the clutched straws float away, is this: are we a nation that will put up with thin-skin screeching, enemies lists, abuse of office, foreign control, vengeance vendettas and Delirium Tremens outbursts for a complete 4 years? I am about to wager… no. Which brings us to:
9- Might Paul Ryan and the House – as well as Alito and Roberts -- come around, well before the 2018 midterms? Facing a looming train wreck, I’ve already bet that they will reach their limit of DT outrages and begin a process of removal. 
But cleverly, Ryan will first say to the Democrats “you put forward articles of impeachment and we’ll provide just enough Republican votes for it to pass.” Thus, they will aim for a win-win-win.  A fresh face for the midterms, a presidential puppet obedient to Murdoch and the Kochs (though perhaps less-so to Russia)… 

...plus ensuring that DT’s enraged followers will blame the democrats for his ouster. As I said, a perfect win-win-win for Ryan and the GOP oligarchy. Of all our straw-clutching scenarios, this one actually seems plausible. (Unless DT has blackmail on Pence.) 
I give it 30%+
And hence my final forecast:
10- The Democrats… will their political lobotomization be over by then? Will they fall for that trap? 

Or will they have the guts to say: “Do your own dirty work, Paul. We will provide a few votes, if you need them to clean up your own mess. But this is all on you.”
What odds do I give that the Dems will ever be that smart?
Practically zero.
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* Asteroids. Republicans hate em. You can expect all asteroid-related NASA missions to be canceled, in favor of joining Russia, China, India and Europe scooting back to repeating Apollo-style landings on the almost-useless Moon.  Another topic, alas. 
** Heck DT’d find being VP way more fun than the Oval Office.. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (site feed URL: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/atom.xml)

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 22:02
And it’s always nice to find a cat under the tree.  Hope your December is going swimmingly.

So Who Won the ARC for The Dispatcher?

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 13:48
It was Nancy K, who was the third person (out of apparently fifteen) to correctly guess the animal I was thinking of, which was the pangolin. She wins because when I rolled my 20-sided die on my desk, the number that came up was “3”, and she was the third. Yes, the counting of the […]

Hey, I Feel Like Giving Away This Subterranean Press ARC of “The Dispatcher”

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 15:42
And I could give it away to you! Yes you, wherever you are in the world. I’ll even sign it (and personalize it, if you like). Here’s what you have to do to enter: In the comment thread attached to this entry, tell me what animal I’m thinking of right now.  (Note: I have told […]

“Spoils” and Trump's worst sin, spitting on the defeated.

Contrary Brin - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 15:30
Amid this Twilight Zone episode we’re living through, what’s my personal grievance? I had hoped by now to swing my attention fully back to writing science fiction, rather than living it.

Oh, there were chillingly accurate SF’nal forecasts. Not Orwell (not yet.) But I’ve mentioned Robert Heinlein’s prophesy of America enduring “crazy years” and a fundamentalist tyrant “Nehemiah Scudder.” Even more depressingly apropos is Ray Bradbury’s “The Sound of Thunder.” Watch a short film version here.
Some have sent emails commenting on how my “Holnists” in The Postman resonate with the burgeoning alt-right. Others ask: is this the end of Pax Americana, when a foreign power controls one - and possibly all three branches - of U.S. government?  Further - some ask – what about my conjecture that centuries only start exhibiting their main ‘theme’ a decade and a half in? Oh, please, let 2016 not represent thiscentury’s theme.  
But my “classic” getting the most attention - “Honoring the Losing Majority” - asked a simple question: 
     When a competitor or candidate wins on a technicality. Does he owe any consideration to the majority who voted against him? 
== What gracious (and smart) winners do. ==
That 2004 essay reads bizarrely apropos for today, including ruminations on the Electoral College. Swap a few words - “Trump” and “Bannon” for “Rove” and “Bush” - and the syndrome looks chillingly familiar.
But let’s start by reprising what I suggested that a mature and honorable person might do, if he or she won office, over the objections of a majority – or even a large minority. Imagine such a President Elect making the following pledge:
"I promise to ask my honorable opponent to pick a panel of Americans who will have control over my appointment calendar one afternoon per month. And I expect my opponent to serve on that panel. On that afternoon, I shall meet with -- and listen to -- any individuals or delegations that panel may choose. Millions of Americans will then know that I do not live in a tower of ideological isolation. I will answer questions and hear dissenting points of view."Such a pledge should hold, even if you win by a landslide! It would cost a candidate or president little to give this much to the losing 40%. (Or today’s 55%) There’s no obligation to act on what the delegations say, only to be accessible, listening occasionally to more than one ideology. More than one brain trust of cloned advisors.Indeed, the legitimacy of any administration will be enhanced if we see the president receive articulate, passionate emissaries, representing diverse opinions and walks of life. So. If that is clearly what a mature and honorable leader would do, what are the prospects of this coming true?== Pretty much zero ==
Clearly, Donald Trump’s answer is a loud and angry “no!” To the victor go the spoils of conquest: spolia opima — an ancient doctrine of ruthlessly finishing off your opponents, seizing all their goods and treating them as enemies to be crushed, lest they ever rise again.
The so-called Spoils System outraged Americans in the post Civil War era, till at last reformers instituted a protected Civil Service, safe from wild swings in the political caste. Then followed a century of consensus — that domestic peace and simple fairness call for the losing side to see its interests at least mentioned in the halls of power. Even if you won in a landslide, as Lyndon Johnson did, in 1964, and Ronald Reagan in 1984, you’re not supposed to rub the noses of 40% of American voters in their loss.
Hence, under Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama, the Secretaries of Commerce were businessmen and women. Entrepreneurial programs were staffed with entrepreneurial people and the Small Business Administration by small businessfolk. Agriculture Department heads have generally spent a lifetime helping farmers. The Council of Economic Advisers had samplings of all doctrines. Under Eisenhower and (yes) Nixon, the Labor Secretary was a union member — even if accused by the left of being a tepid compromiser. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (founded by Nixon) was someone who cared about the environment, and science agencies were headed by reputable scientists.
This reversed a bit under Reagan, especially re: the EPA. But it was both Bushes who began savaging the principle, for example appointing to run the IRS and SEC folks specifically charged with undermining the auditing of banks, Wall Street firms and the rich. Saudi influence was masked by State Department and intelligence officials, and so on. This would have been bad enough, if George W. Bush, hadn’t won office, in 2000, under questionable circumstances, clearly opposed by a majority of those who voted.  I wrote “Honoring the Losing Majority” at that point, in protest to immature and dishonorable behavior.
Still, Bush at least spoke a few words about consensus and accommodation, appointing cabinet officials who gave some appearance of professionalism, before proceeding to violate the principle. His enemies-lists were discreet and while he lied incessantly, for the most part, he did not screech and howl.
== The cult of personal pique ==
That principle - of showing at least some respect for the losing minority - should be part of any decent society. And not just in the Executive Branch.  Among the many “reform suggestions” I’ve proposed – fruitlessly - over the years, was for the majority in Congress to give the minority party a fair number of their own, discretionary subpoenas and the ability to call some days of hearings. (You in today's majority will want this power someday, when you drop into the minority again.) But one thing at a time.
How urgent is the principle today, when technicalities (like the distribution of electoral votes, foreign meddling and a high likelihood of “rigging”) have just disenfranchised not a minority, or a small majority, as in Gore-Bush 2000, but a very large majority of voters? Would not an adult - even a partisan one - want to offer olive branches, like my once-a-month meeting agenda, or possibly even granting the loser some say in cabinet picks? 
Not, apparently, Donald Trump, whose thin-skinned vengeance fetishism has combined with almost slavish currying of favor by the ruling axis of power on the right. From the Koch/Murdoch/Adelson/Goldman oligarchy to the Russo-Saudi oilocracy, Trump’s cabinet choices show none of the populist autonomy that his braggadocio seemed to portend. Except for appointing the former head of World Wrestling — something that was pure, refreshing and his old self. The Kochs and Putin had no role in that one, I betcha. Nor did they command the most delicious of last week's theatricals -- the utter public humiliation, over frogs legs, of Mitt Romney. 
If Democrats understood judo, they’d go limp, right now, and let Trump’s opposition come from the Bushite faction. The man is volcanically reactive! So long as the loudest enmity comes from his left, he will reflexively scuttle right.
But we aren’t here today to dissect this fellow’s personal or psychological motives.  The topic is “Honoring the Losing Majority.” And it is a sad commentary on our times that few have even raised the subject.  
Go give the original essay a look. Swap a few names and words.  Then ask yourself: “Are liberals so much better?" Sure, they have on their side all the scientists and folks who actually know stuff.  And soon - if Trump proceeds on-trajectory - nearly all members of the intelligence and law communities, as well as most of the United States military Officer Corps.  Yet, have you seen any fresh ideas from the Democratic establishment?
The dullard-insipidly unimaginative campaign run by Hillary Clinton’s people - along with the generally clueless reactions by most liberal pundits - reveals just how desperately the Union needs to rediscover agility, just as it had to do in the 1860s, when faced by an all-too similar confederacy, aiming to re-institute feudalism.

As happened in 1861 and 1862 -- and in 1941 -- expect disasters before, as past Americans did, we figure this out. And stand up.
-->. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (site feed URL: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/atom.xml)

Miniatures Arrives!

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Mon, 12/12/2016 - 10:27
And is looking very fine, I have to say. It showed up to my house while I was away this weekend in Chicago, so I saw it in the flesh when I returned yesterday evening. Which is a very fine way to have a homecoming, I have to say. The book itself is wonderfully well […]

Out for the Weekend

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Sat, 12/10/2016 - 11:54
Try to amuse yourselves somehow. I’ll see you on Monday.

Greed, oligarchy and Marx

Contrary Brin - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 19:50
Earlier we looked at electoral post-mortems by some on the Right. And last time, we scrutinized the whole range of Electoral College possibilities, in case there turn out to be forty+ republican electors who are simultaneously patriotic, moral and sane... which these fellows deem to be highly unlikely.

Only now let’s do a sudden veer! Taking you into an unexpected direction by citing a name you thought relegated to the dustbin of history. It seems likely that, during the centennial year of his greatest victory, we'll be hearing more of him.
Karl Marx. Nothing puzzled the father of tendentious-socialist theory, more than the USA. Every time America seemed about to tip into his scenario of the "next pohase" - capitalist-oligarchic rule - and from there, on trajectory for communist revolution, we somehow used politics to institute reforms, restoring health to the middle and staunching any thought of class warfare. 

The adjustments made under Teddy Roosevelt and others confused Marx, because politics wasn't supposed to be able to do that. Did this constitute “buying off” the working class? If so, later (Franklin) Rooseveltean Reforms did it even better. So well, in fact, that the entire Baby Boomer generation grew up unable even to picture in their minds something taken for granted by nearly all other generations across 4000 years: class war.
To be clear, the notion of class war was second nature to almost all of our ancestors.  Peasants would hide their harvests from the feudal lord or the confiscating commissar. Those exploiters would swoop in and take whatever they liked, sometimes spurring fierce resistance, even revolution. Marx gained a following because of this expectation. Only in the FDR era and especially post-war, did a generation rise up that took for granted the very opposite. That the rich are just like us. And that a lower middle class worker is just a future rich-dude, whose ship hasn't yet come in.
Despite these American Setbacks, Marxists were confident that such alternative paths would ultimately fail. Oligarchs cannot leave any social contract alone. Greed is a central human attractor state, as is feudalism. The Rooseveltean compact would be betrayed, and Marx described how.

He wrote of how elites stir populist resentment among the lumpen proletariat, using racism and machismo to divert and distract. The Prussian “junkers” lords thought they were clever by supporting (gleefully at first, then to their regret) fascism in 1930s Germany. As French nobles did in the 1780s, and Roman Senators, much earlier. (As if aristocrats are ever truly as smart as they think they are.)

That pattern was vastly more common than our recent experiment in politically fine-tuned class peace. Marxists felt confident that the savvy AFL-CIO negotiators who erased class conflict in the 1950s would be replaced by lesser minds, who would take their eye off the ball. 

So, is Marx coming back into pertinence? As a topic at least, if not inspiration?
We need to step back and look at the big picture, as Dr. Sally J. Goerner does, in her recent Evonomics piece: Why Trump-Sanders Phenomenon Signals an Oligarchy on the Brink of a Civilization-Threatening Collapse: Oligarchies tend to win, except when society enacts effective reforms. Her historically verified assertion: “…oligarchies always collapse because they are designed to extract wealth from the lower levels of society, concentrate it at the top, and block adaptation by concentrating oligarchic power as well.” 
Our difficult task, maintaining a civilization of empowered citizenship -- the "diamond-shaped social structure" about which I often speak – requires constant effort, not only to fight each generation’s oligarchic putsch, but also to avoid the opposite calamity of monolithic socialism… which has always led to just more feudalism under a different vocabulary. (Just because Marx had insights, that did not make him right.)

Our quandary was well described by the famous historians Will and Ariel Durant, in The Lessons of History.  
"…the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealthor by revolution distributing poverty.”  
Goerner suggests that: 
   “We have forgotten the lessons of the 1760s, 1850s, and 1920s. We have let Economic Royalists hijack our democracy, and turn our economy into their money machine. Now the middle class is evaporating, infrastructure is crumbling, and pressure is reaching a breaking point. Anti-establishment candidates are on the rise, and no one knows how things will turn out.
“What then shall we do? The first step is to remember that our times also hold a positive possibility – a transformation akin to those which followed 1776, 1865, and 1945. Honest reformers from education and agriculture to energy and finance are already reinventing their fields.”
The irony in all this is that our greatest need, at present, is not redistribution of wealth. (Though note that the American Founders seized and redistributed up to a third of all the land in the original 13 colonies. And it could come to that, again.) 

No, we can probably accomplish enough of a reset simply through transparency! Elsewhere, I describe how simply making open and clear who owns what would enable all modern systems to work better, even without any modifications in law. Certainly without any increase in taxes.

But back to us aging, grumpy white male boomers, who pulled this year's latest, nasty trick on our far-better children.  The Trumpists want to "Make America Great Again," without ever specifying when that "again" refers to. But the implication is they're thinking of the 1950s, when the Greatest Generation that overcame Depression and Hitler contained communism and built vast-productive enterprises that made us wealthy enough to turn our attention to old-bad habits like racism. Got that right?

Except the Greatest Generation did all that under high, New Deal tax rates. Labor unions were were strong and admired. And the wealthiest Americans were only a few hundred times as rich - effectively - as average folks. And the Greatest Generation's favorite living human was a person reviled by all right wing media... Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Yeah. Then.  
== Proof that the left contains loons, as well ==
Okay, so I raised the issue of once and future terms like communism.That doesn't mean I want it back!  It is a horrendously simpleminded religion that ignore everything from Darwinian selection to biology to how actual human beings function.  Indeed, one of the right's many crimes is the way that have started to make class war pertinent again, elevating an oligarchic caste whose very stupidity ensure's Marxism's return.

Does today's left contain dogmatic partisans? There are stunning rationalizations that the Democrats had abandoned the middle class, like this article, in which every paragraph makes a statement that is either misleading or false. Refuted in this piece, which almost get it right.
No, the chief difference between the parties is that the Democrats contain some far-left loons. While today’s entire American right wing consists of such. There is all the world’s difference between “contains” and “consists,” as well as between “far” and “entire."
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't glance, occasionally in all directions. Anyone who has spent time on a university campuse knows that PC bullies and maniacs do exist.  They provide the ammo that Fox has used to tar the vast majority of American liberals – the last clade of progress-loving, positive-sum, pragmatic-reforming citizens that remains in the republic. Moreover, while we may be allies with the Left, we should never take our eyes off them. Indeed, making that distinction will always be our first step toward winning back our confederate neighbors. Persuading them to choose to be Americans again.
== Speaking of the economy ==
It’s not just urban vs. Rural. Or race or gender or even the top correlate - education level. And yes, the almost three million more voters who picked Hillary Clinton, smashing all records for public will, stymied by both cheating and the Electoral College.  

The strongest correlation appears to be wherever economic activity is vibrant, healthy and vigorous. From: Donald Trump lost most of the American economy this election, in The Washington Post:  
“The divide is economic, and it is massive. According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America's economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country's economic activity last year. Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy,” writes Jim Tankersley.
One can take it several ways… that the outcome reflects comeuppance for elite snobbery toward Regular America who’s been snubbed and left behind. Or else, that Red America was taking revenge, for the fact that their children – the brightest members of every high school graduating class – go hurrying to the America of lights, universities, entrepreneurship and all that.

It's cultural. 
== A human lifetime ==
And finally... It isn’t just NATO and Pax Americana and global trade that made the last 70 years the best in the history of our species. The world and national systems crafted by geniuses like George Marshall also gave one entire, massive generation of Americans a social order that was incredibly flat by historical standards, as well as increasingly inclusive, with each passing decade. So flat (as described above) that we boomers were the first ever to imagine that ‘class war’ was permanently behind us. A delusion that’s been exploited expertly by the folks at Fox.   
And yet, looking back to George Marshall’s era from the Time of Trump, I have an even deeper concern:
What will happen to America’s crown jewel — our 70 year dominance in creativity, R&D and science? With almost every American scientist - along with nearly all the teachers, economists, medical doctors and all the other knowledge castes - deeply fearful about a Trump presidency, there is one clade that seems to be jubilant over his victory. 
No, it is not the traditional republican oligarchy. (Rupert Murdoch has good reasons to fret, that we’ll get into later.)
No, the delighted ones appear to be — foreign despots
. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (site feed URL: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/atom.xml)

The Big Idea: Corie Weaver

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 12:17
Picture a mad scientist in your head. Got it? Now, here’s editor Corie Weaver explaining why that image should be a more diverse one, and how her 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide anthology helps to make that possible. CORIE WEAVER: Mad scientist should be an equal opportunity career. I firmly believe this. So when a […]
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